As from 2024, the Festpielhaus in St. Pölten will join the BIG BANG network with a first festival in Austria.
The glowing Festspielhaus facade is an unmistakable feature in the night-time St. Pölten sky. For dance and music enthusiasts, the comfort offered by the distinctively striped sofas of the Great Hall at performances by globally renowned artists is just as much a landmark.
Originally conceived by architect Klaus Kada as the musical home of the Tonkunstler Orchestra, the sensational theatre building soon became a talking point, and not just because of its extraordinary acoustics. The Festspielhaus St. Pölten has grown from a concert hall in the Lower Austrian state capital to an internationally respected co-production house for the manifold expressive forms of contemporary dance. The global stars of dance and choreography now present their latest creations here as Austrian, European or world premieres, or develop them on-site during generous artist residencies.
The Festspielhaus, in the Kulturbezirk St. Pölten, today presents itself as Austria’s major venue for premieres of international dance and contemporary ballet. But its attraction reaches far beyond Austrian borders, as can be seen when such important dance figures as Martin Schläpfer, director of the Vienna State Ballet and former head of the renowned Ballet am Rhein, places the Festspielhaus among the major European dance venues. For Schläpfer, the Festspielhaus draws on the diverse facets of this artform without playing the various styles off against each other.
In addition to dance and orchestral music, the venue welcomes the world’s best nouveau cirque companies as well as stars of jazz and world music, one of whom, Grammy-winner Gregory Porter, enthused: "What an amazing crowd!” And: “you have definitely the most beautiful seats!" Chamber music evenings and on-stage concerts in a club atmosphere complete the diverse programme.
A varied cultural education programme offers audiences of all ages and social backgrounds the opportunity to get involved in performing, participating and entering into a direct dialogue with the artists.
This underlying attitude is reflected in the contemporary architecture of the building: with its numerous fields of view facing out and in, the Festspielhaus St. Pölten opens itself in all directions. It takes new perspectives on art and culture and turns to welcome the people who visit and help shape it.
Since the 2022/23 season, Bettina Masuch has been its Artistic Director. Constanze Eiselt is a music curator and is responsible for the jazz, world music and pop concerts.